A pathologist at the University Hospital of the West Indies concluded on Thursday (Sept. 22), St. George’s College Manning Cup captain Dominic James, died of cardiac failure.
The player was apparently suffering from a condition known as Cardiomyopathy.
Cardiomyopathy is a group of diseases that affect the heart muscle. Early on there may be few or no symptoms. Others may have shortness of breath, feel tired, or have swelling of the legs due to heart failure. Those affected are at an increased risk of sudden cardiac death.
James, who also played Manning Cup football for Jamaica College (JC) until the 2013-2014 season, was named captain of St George’s during the pre-season. He died at the start of his sixth game of the season.
Reports said James collapsed on the field about three minutes into the game of his school’s Group A fixture against Excelsior at the Stadium East field on Tuesday (Sept. 20). He was taken to the University Hospital of the West Indies by his father for treatment.
Approximately 43 minutes later, Jamaica’s schoolboy football fraternity was plunged into deep mourning as news came back from the hospital that the 18-year-old had died.
The tragedy was too heavy for his teammates. They fell to the ground in tears.
There were no dry eyes in the Excelsior camp either as they sought to comfort their opponents.
“This one tough, this one tough,” said a weeping Neville Bell, the St George’s coach.
“I was very concerned because I hadn’t seen it [when Dominic fell], but when I looked at his eyes they were very glazed.”
His death triggered an emotional outpouring from the football fraternity, including the Jamaica Football Federation as well as the Waterhouse Football Club with whom James won an under-20 championship in 2014.
James was remembered as an outstanding student and midfield player who had a bright future ahead of him.
Portia Simpson Miller, Leader of the Opposition:
“It is so, so sad and it touches my heart in a serious way. I wish to extend condolences to his parents, his school community and members of his family. You do not expect to bury a child, children are always expected to bury their parents, and I really want to express my sorrow.”
Lisa Hanna, Opposition Spokesperson on Youth:
“It’s shocking particularly because we’ve seen him really have the kind of camaraderie and school spirit and has been a beacon of strength for his team. He has performed well. It must be really devastating for his team-mates and the school when your captain goes down in battle. But what a serious metaphor of life for him to actually be captaining his team and in doing what he loves, his life leaves him. I want to express condolences to his parents, to his friends, to his colleagues, and to the school, and pray that through this time, they will seek comfort in whatever way possible.”